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December 05, 2008 16:03 GMT
On the morning of December 5, 2008, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Aleksy II died at the age of 79.
Patriarch Aleksy was born as Aleksy Mikhailovich Ridiger in Tallinn on February 23, 1929.
Aleksy II became the 15th patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church on June 10, 1990.
On June 7, 1990, the Russian Orthodox Church's Pomestny Sobor, or Council of Bishops, elected Aleksy patriarch and ascended to the post on June 10, 1990.
After Vladimir Putin was inaugurated, Aleksy gave the new president his blessing in the Kremlin.
During his patriarchy, Aleksy built up relations between the church and state.
Patriarch Aleksy was the honorary co-chairman of the Inter-Religious Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States and a member of the Russian President's Council for Cooperation With Religious Organizations. He has received numerous government awards.
Aleksy II with Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople during celebrations marking the 1020th anniversary of the establishment of Christianity in Kievan Rus
Under Aleksy II, a system of providing priests for spiritual leadership to the armed forces and law-enforcement bodies was established.
Aleksy II greets Ilya II, the Patriarch of Georgia, at a meeting in St. Daniel's Monastery.
Aleksy II, President Putin, and the head of the Caucasus Muslims Directorate Allakhshukyur Pasha-Zade.
In addition to his duties as patriarch and his social activities, Aleksy II was also a theological scholar, publishing approximately 200 works on theology, church history, peacemaking and other themes.
Many polls now show Orthodox believers to be a strong majority in Russia, a marked change from the situation that Aleksy inherited in 1990.
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